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Sushi Nakazawa was recently opened by Daisuke Nakazawa who is famous for being the apprentice in “Jiro Dreams Of Sushi” who made tamagoyaki two thousand times before Jiro finally said it was good enough quality to be served to customers. Naturally before he even opened up there was a lot of buzz about him, how he compares to Jiro, how his experience in Seattle might have shaped him and many other permutations of that conversation. Well I’ve never been to Jiro (and neither have 99.9% of the people asking how it will compare), but I can tell you this he’s making some of the best sushi in NY right now and is solidly in the top tier sushi level with places like Sushi Yasuda and 15 East.
The restaurant is located in the West Village. The space is a long narrow space with a sushi bar upfront and tables in the back. The window facing the sidewalk is floor to ceiling and gives the restaurant a more open feel versus most sushi restaurants which feel enclosed. It is a beautiful space and I really like how it feels more casual than other sushi restaurants. The service was excellent and attentive. Daisuke Nakazawa is a very nice guy. While his English is not great he’s always smiling, laughing and is engaging with customers which is rare in NY.
We got the sushi omakase which is $150 for 21 pieces (a lot of people asked me about that).
I’m going to comment on the sushi rice here since it is a commonality amongst all the sushi. It was excellent and on par with Yasuda which has the best sushi rice in NY. The texture was great, perfectly al dente and the flavor of the vinegar was nice and not overpowering or too weak. The flavoring is a bit different than Yasuda, but it’s a tossup as to whose rice is better.
Another thing I’ll comment on is he uses way more locally caught seafood than other places and I’ve heard some complaints about that because of the price of the meal. My view is that the seafood was excellent and I don’t care where it’s from if it’s really good although I understand the price vs where the food is from argument, but I’ll let other argue over that.
Here’s what we had:
Wild King Salmon
This was from Alaska and was served with sea salt and yuzu. The meat was very light colored and quite delicate tasting. I thought the sea salt and yuzu really complimented it nicely. 8.5/10
Alaskan Sockeye Salmon
This had a slightly stronger salmon taste although again it was excellent. 8.25/10
This was from Maine and was live. They brought the whole shell out to show us before serving it to us. It was sweet and bit briny, a really standout scallop. 8.5/10
The searing gave the geoduck a very smoky flavor and the soy sauce complimented it nicely with some saltiness. While it was not super tender it also wasn’t tough like some geoduck. I thought it was good although not amazing. 7.75/10
This was from California and was steamed for 4 hours. This was good for abalone although abalone is not my favorite sushi as I find it a bit hard and not that flavorful. That said this was better than most abalone you get in the US as it wasn’t that tough. 7.75/10
This was from Japan. It was really great and was the best piece I’ve had in the US. 8.75/10
This was from Japan and pickled for 5 days. The pickling killed any fishy flavor and I thought it was a really nice tasting piece of mackerel. 8.25/10
This was from Long Island and served with liver. The fish was quite light tasting with a good firm texture. The liver was a nice touch as it gave the fish an extra bit slight liver flavor which made it a much fuller taste overall. 8/10
This was from Long Island and served with yuzu. This was a standard, but good piece of fluke. 8/10
This was from Long Island and it was quite tender actually. Squid itself does not have a ton of flavor, so the soy sauce is definitely necessary. 7.75/10
This was from New Caledonia and while I normally don’t like ebi all that much this was definitely the best piece I’ve had in the US. It had been recently cooked, so it was slightly warm. 8.25/10
This was from Japan and it was a really great piece of fish. Tender and just had great flavor. 8.5/10
This was from Japan and was smoked. It was nice with a very slight smokiness to it. 8.25/10
Blue Fin Tuna
This was wild caught from Boston. It was interesting because all of the tuna was from one fish from Boston which I’d never had tuna from Boston. I thought it was surprisingly good, nice tuna flavor with pretty good texture. It’s not like the best stuff I’ve had in Japan, but it was actually very nice. 8.25/10
Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna)
This was wild caught from Boston. It was nicely marbled and buttery. 8/10
Otoro (Tuna Belly)
This was wild caught from Boston. It was also nicely marbled and buttery. 8/10
Uni (Sea Urchin)
This was from Santa Barbara. I was a little worried because it looked bit weird, but once I took a bit it turned out to be excellent. It was sweet, briny and creamy. It was definitely a respectable piece of uni. 8.25/10
This was from Alaska. Wow this was a standout; this was by far the best ikura I’ve had in the US. It wasn’t fishy at all, nicely salty with just generally good flavor. 8.75/10
Anago (Conger Eel)
This was from Japan. It was a nice piece of anago with good texture not too mushy and the sweet sauce was not overwhelming. 8/10
This was a tuna handroll that had a bit of liver in it. While tuna handrolls are not my favorite, this was very good for a tuna handroll with a good ratio of fish to rice to nori. 8.25/10
Here is the infamous tamago from Jiro Dream’s Of Sushi. This was different than most as it’s the kind that is more of a cake as opposed to an omelette, so the texture is more spongy. It was fairly sweet and delicate tasting. I thought it was good although I think I prefer the traditional tamagoyaki more. 8/10
Overall, I really liked Nakazawa across the board. I thought the food was some of the best I’ve had in NY this year, the service and setting were great and Nakazawa was a really nice guy. I highly recommend coming here as soon as possible.